Arab Gulf Country of Bahrain: Israel Has 'Right' to Defend Itself Against Iran

Bahrain, a close U.S. ally, considers Iran a regional threat and also threw its support behind Trump's decision to pull out of nuclear deal

Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Crown Prince of Bahrain, speaks during a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, November 30, 2017.
Bloomberg

The Arab Gulf country of Bahrain's top diplomat supported Israel's "right" to defend itself after Israel launched overnight strikes on Iranian targets in Syria.

Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa wrote on Twitter Thursday that so long as Iran uses its forces and missiles to try and destabilize the region, "it is the right of any country in the region, including Israel to defend itself by destroying sources of danger."

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Bahrain, a close U.S. ally, considers Iran a regional threat. Bahrain has also welcomed President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the nuclear accord with Iran.

Israel attacked dozens of Iranian targets in Syria in what the military said was the most extensive strike in the neighboring country in decades. The strike was carried out in response to a barrage of 20 rockets that were fired from Syria at Israeli military outposts.

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The Israeli military accused the Revolutionary Guards' Al Quds force and its commander, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, of launching the attack at the Israeli Golan Heights. This is the first time Israel has directly accused Iran of firing toward Israeli territory.

Israel said its targets included weapons storage, logistics sites and intelligence centers used by elite Iranian forces in Syria. It also said it destroyed five Syrian air-defense battaries after coming under heavy fire. It said none of its warplanes were hit.

Twenty-three fighters, among them 18 foreigners, were killed in the attack, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Syrian military said that three people were killed and two were wounded in the attack.

Russia's Defense Ministry said that the Israeli strike on Syria used 28 planes, fired 70 missiles, adding that Syria shot down more than half of Israeli missiles.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Thursday morning that Israel has struck "all of the Iranian infrastructure in Syria." Lieberman said that Israel does not seek escalation, but added that it won't allow Iran to turn Syria into a "forward base" against Israel.

A source in the Israeli security establishment said this attack was the largest carried out by Israel since it signed a disengagement agreement with Syria in May 1974. The Israeli military warned Syria not to respond to its attack.